AJ Foyt Racing has a new look driver line-up for the 2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season with Sting Ray Robb joining the team from Dale Coyne Racing.

Robb, who will drive the No.41 Pray.com Chevrolet sat down with the team ahead of this weekend’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg presented by RP Funding.

When did you know you wanted to race cars for a living? And when did you realize that you could?

SR: “From an early age I knew I wanted to race cars for a living. I didn’t have the concept though, that I wouldn’t be able to do it all: be an astronaut, pilot, doctor, CIA agent, NBA player and all the other things I had thought I might get to do. There was always a desire to drive and to drive faster, even as a 4-year-old. I think I mostly clearly saw the chance to make a living in racing when I was around 13 or 14-years-old. As I progressed through the ranks in karting, and eventually succeeded through them, I saw the desire and ability to drive at a high level for a living.”

What was your first memory of a race track or a race?

SR: “My earliest memory is probably when I was around four years old when my parents would take me around to Corvette club meetings, drag races, and autocross events that parents would race in. One specific memory was when I got to ride with one of my parents around an autocross track, but I wasn’t able to see very well over the dash!

What were some of the obstacles you faced in becoming a race driver and how did you overcome them?

SR: “I was a small town kid from Idaho… There were a lot. Thankfully, my parents dedicated a lot of their time and effort into giving me a chance to live out my dream. We learned the hard way, a lot of times. Lack of knowledge, funding, and long distances to travel to new tracks with unknown equipment was always the logistical challenges, but in motorsports there’s always something new to learn and another driver to beat.”

How do you handle the pressure that comes with IndyCar’s strong competition?

SR: “Throughout my career, as I’ve progressed, I have felt similar pressures. This is no different in the sense that it’s another step-up and the drivers are just that much BETTER. INDYCAR is the pinnacle of open-wheel, ontrack competition, so I’d be wrong to suggest it isn’t the most pressure I’ve ever felt. Therefore, I’ve found that having an identity tied to my faith in Christ (on and off the track) is that much more important.”

What do you think is the most important lesson you learned last year that will help you this year?

SR: “Patience and grace are underrated characteristics in the sport. For yourself and others.”

Do you set goals for yourself? If so, what are your goals for this year?

SR: “Yes, I do. Although, sometimes the actual number result for the season is slightly obscure. It is only a result of how well you do everything consistently through the year. I’ve set some personal goals that will help achieve success on the track and in the championship.”

What do you enjoy most about racing cars?

SR: “Other than driving fast and playing with race cars? All joking aside, I love the competition and problem solving. Working with a team of people dedicated to achieving results together is a special feeling, too.”

What do you like about racing in St. Petersburg?

SR: “St. Pete is a great city first off and a great place to kick off the season after hiding from the winter months. The track itself is great because it is a very smooth street course, with the occasional big transitions and bumps. The natural waterline changes the way the roads curve from other downtown streets, which adds more character and rhythm to the track.”

Your faith is integral to your life — at what age did you realize its importance to you?

SR: “I was probably 12 or 13 when I had first experienced true, life-altering faith. Ironically, at the race track. I began to see that the length and depth of life, and wandering through without reason or purpose was hard. Finding that purpose and truth in my faith changed how I could see the world and moments that would shape my life.”

Do you ever encounter criticism for being so public about your commitment to your faith? How do you handle it?

SR: “Oh, yes. More and more. Over the course of the last 18 months, I’ve felt more criticism than ever for my faith as well as other things. I’ve learned to handle it by focusing on what’s true, that truth should decide how I respond. Spending time reading the Bible and seeking out a relationship with the truth there has been helpful for me to handle the pressures and criticism of others.”

How do you spend your spare time? What interests you when you’re not racing?

SR: “Since moving to Indianapolis, I haven’t gotten to spend as much time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors like I used to. Being in the mountains is one of my favorite things, whether it be mountain biking, skiing, hiking, hunting, fishing, or other things. I played several sports growing up so I still enjoy some of those, including basketball, golf, tennis, pickleball, and spikeball (the list goes on). Rock climbing is something I have found to be a good workout and challenging. Other than these activities, I’m realizing the older I become, the more I like to learn, so reading has become a good habit.”

What would you do for a living if you weren’t a race driver?

SR: “I’m always tempted with the idea to get a bird dog and move to the mountains where I could hunt and train dogs for living… but knowing myself, I think I would get bored after a while. In school, I had always planned to go to college to study engineering and theology. It was a unique combination but I think either would have fit pretty well.”

Do you have a favorite saying?

SR: “My step-dad used to tell us kids growing up, ” There’s two kinds of men in this world: those that are humble and those that are about to be.” It was a great reminder to start there and work hard, be confident and fight for truth rather than getting it wrong and finding out the hard way.”

Santino Ferrucci returns to AJ Foyt Racing following a successful season with the team in 2023 where he finished the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500 in third place.

Looking ahead to St Pete, the driver of the No.14 Sexton Properties Chevrolet sat down with his team.

What do you like about racing in St. Pete?

SF: “Well, racing in St. Pete is great, especially to go to Florida in the early March. Nice beach weather. Great for fans to start the season there. It’s just an all-around really fun event. I’ve always enjoyed going there. I think the track races really well, and by that I mean because of the strategy and tire wear so it makes the pitstops quite unique. You can run different strategies. It’s a very technical track so you can’t really make any mistakes. I’m looking forward to getting back after it.”

How do you think the changes in the car for the hybrid will affect the handling of the cars at St. Pete?

SF: “I don’t think it’s gonna affect the handling at all. I think the car should be quick. I think the tire compounds that Firestone has changed will be better. We can push more. I think they’re slightly harder than last year in anticipation of the hybrid so that’ll be a good change.

What is the key to qualifying at St. Pete?

SF: “The key to qualifying is probably not hitting the wall. The closer you get to it, the faster you go.”

What would you consider a successful race weekend?

SF: “I believe at the rate that we’re going with all the new personnel changes in engineering and the technical alliance with Team Penske, I think a successful weekend would look like a top-10 finish and I think we are more than capable of achieving that. We just need to make sure that we continue with our communication as it’s been really smooth the last few tests. We’ve been able to get the car dialed in which is good. So, I think if we have clean pitstops and a clean race, we should end up inside the top-10, and that’ll be a really solid starting point. I mean, the bar is not high from last year. Let’s be real.”

What do you think about INDYCAR testing a new format for the practice session on Friday which starts with all cars on track for 20 minutes and then the field is split into two groups based on odd and even numbered pit stalls with those groups alternating on track in 10-minute sessions for the remainder of the session?

SF: “I think that this is something that we’ve come up with in the post season drivers meeting to limit drivers from running into the back of each other, especially at smaller tracks. You know we are we’re always either on track at the same time or not on the track at all. I think this just puts the cars on track more consistently. I’m fine with it. I think it’s one of the good changes that we’ve made over the winter.”

Share This